Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Charitable Foodie Xmas Gifts

It is officially all hands on deck for the count down to Christmas. For the gift buys in the family you can press the panic button now! hahaha

But wait before you do, I have done some super sleuthing on the Internet for some wonderful foodie gift ideas. If you are stuck for gift ideas why don’t you try one of these charitable gifts?

For me I feel guilty over Christmas that am potentially contributing to mindless landfill, wasting resources not to mention my money on Christmas gifts people may or may not want. This year I have put a blanket ban across both families, no gifts! Because Christmas for me isn’t a time to rack up a credit card bill, it’s meant to be for spending time with family.

I know in some households this is a tough rule to lay down so as an alternative why not a charitable gift that helps you give back;

We all know chocolate isn’t the most nutritious choice, but on occasion when you really feel like it, it’s a welcomed treat. You can order this Oxfam chocolate hamper online and get it delivered to your door before Chrissy.

How about buying a family a Chicken that will eventually lay eggs? Chicken and eggs help provide children and families with a lasting source of protein. I have donated to world vision via this donation portal in the past. You can actually get a card send with the donation pledge sent straight to the intended family member. It’s not a sick joke, make sure if the person you are donating on behalf of will appreciate this idea.

This is a favourite of mine last Christmas I ordered a box of good will wines with a percentage of the purchase price donated to the guide dogs association. It came with lovely labels of guide dog puppies on the front. Since our entire family loves dogs, it was a hit.  There are about 10 different charities you can pick from with their own unique labels so you can customise it to the persons interest.

This is an easy one, who doesn’t like tea? This one is particularly good for Kris Kringle gift giving at work $10 isn’t going to break the bank and you can have an exotic tea delivered to your office door.

Now if your really into saving lives you can buy a box of therapeutic foods to be given to malnourished people. This Plumpy’Nut paste can bring a child back from severe malnutrition fast. It doesn’t need to be mixed with water, which is useful because clean water used for drinking is some time scarce.

There’s plenty more charitable gift ideas you can give only your imagination limits you. Have you got a favourite charitable gift?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Environmentally Health Conscious Vegetarian Christmas

Christmas is only 4 weeks away and you have been tasked on Christmas lunch. Are you stuck in a pickle? Want to do something creative, different and give back to the world?

Well, I have the perfect solution for you, why don't you go vegetarian style?

For all you meat eaters out there don’t tune out just yet, it’s not as bad as you think.  You won’t need to trade your turkey feast for tofu burgers.

Having a vegetarian theme can work a treat, and if certain individuals are really opposed (there’s always one), you can reduce you carbon footprint by just having one simple turkey to keep the meat lovers happy.

Hosting a vegetarian Christmas dinner can be quite balanced feast with a healthy twist. Better than feeling stuffed full, and regretting every morsel like other Christmas experiences. 

You get the best environmentally sustainable brownie points too if you use in season veggies and fruit. That way you can reduce your carbon footprint. Not to mention save some money! 

Try this menu on for size:

Pre meal canapés

Whole-wheat flat bread with hummus or salsa dip

Cucumber and avocado sushi rolls

Corn on the cob

Quick tip: Keep your glass jars for later use, home made hummus in a recycled jar is a neat gift for work friends


Feta, rocket and pomegranate salad

Roasted carrots and parsnips with pesto sauce

Asparagus soup with whole-wheat flat bread


Spanokopita with steamed spinach

Stuffed black bean mushrooms, quinoa with salad

Lentil patties, steamed string green beans and roasted potato’s

Quick tip: I use frozen spinach to make spanokopita its cheaper and easier reduced prep time


Sautéed cinnamon pears, yogurt & flaked almonds

Christmas ginger bread cookies

Pumpkin pie

Quick tip: When making pumpkin pie really process pumpkin till its smooth and creamy.. mine looks a little rough around the edges!

Most of all remember that Christmas is a great time to socialise and build stronger connections with friends and family. It’s special times like this that create long lasting memories. Enjoy good food, with great company, most of all be safe. Cheers!

Party Season Drinks

I know it’s only November but the festive season will be here before we know it.  For many the festive season is a scary place, it creates an environment for extreme weight fluctuations.

I am all for having fun, but we also have to keep in mind that fun shouldn’t equate to gaining 10kg+ over a month. That’s certainly not fun for your state of mind or body.

First things first I am a big believer in there’s different strokes for different folks. Of course the best thing would be not to drink at all, but for most that is unrealistic.

Rather than being the party pooper here are some ideas to how to start moderating how much you drink. If you have any more do please share!

  • Have a limit on the amount of drinks you are allowed each week. For example your cap for the week maybe 6 drinks, in which you can have them all at once or spread out through the week. It’s your choice on how you use them up, but it ensures you don’t go over your quota for the week.

  • Alternate between a glass of water and an alcohol drink throughout the night. That way you won’t get drunk as quickly and hopefully the fullness sensation will slow you down.

  • Choose mixers that contain a lot of ice and fruit instead of soft drink based drinks. Better yet choose mineral water mixes or spirits on the rocks.  

  • Concentrate on socialising with people and talking, rather than seeing how many drinks you can get down. The purpose of functions is to enjoy the company of others, not over indulge in food for the sake of overindulgence.

Avoid unwanted snacks while drinking.  Alcohol as you know reduces inhibitions, self-control and primes appetite. Combine that with an environment where there is food and drinks everywhere you will over eat. If you find yourself nibbling on peanuts and chips because they are staring you down, move away. Having food in front of you all the time, will prime you to at all the time. Move away from the food to socialize elsewhere or move the platter.  

But remember if you have over done it, don’t feel guilty. Guilt will not help you rewind the clock, think about a different strategy for next time and a little bit of exercise never goes astray either.

Orthorexia Is Real

This topic has been a long time coming- orthorexia.  Haven’t heard of it before? Well I will inform you, it’s a form of an eating disorder where someone has an extreme or excessive preoccupation with avoiding what is perceived as unhealthy “bad” foods.

I say this topic has been a long time coming because it’s popping up more and more, and people unfortunately are finding themselves in a spot of bother. It seems that as a society we have begun to normalise and glorify those who have “pure” eating habits or are considered gurus in insert fad diet (Paleo, I quit sugar, raw, fruitarian, low carb, ketogenic etc).

I don’t think should be is it national news to trivialise a person who has lost weight on a mono diet of just eating bananas. I would have loved to do a 5 year follow up to see how general health was fine and if malnutrition followed.

This was a more recent one about hot dogs. Why is it that some one can’t just enjoy a normal hot dog on occasion and go off their Paleo journey? I admit hot dogs aren’t the healthiest choice of food but if you really want a hot dog go and eat a god damn hot dog. Don’t try to fool yourself into believing a pseudo hotdog is going to be the same.

Equating eating fruit to eating candy is equally absurd, as it has been proven time and time again fruit is good for our health. This quote was take from professor Tim Noake's website. 

I am having a dig at these absurd ideas because it’s a prime example of when healthy eating just became something more than just trying to lose weight or be healthy. It becomes almost like a religion and an obsession.

Please also note the craziness between two people who both claim they have superior health and follow extreme diets: one who claims fruit (carbs is candy and causes cancer) the other who says fruit is the only thing to eat and that meat, dairy, grain etc all cause cancer. They are both not dead yet so who is telling the truth?

There are plenty of social media made celebrities that have fallen into this trap. An extreme healthy diet full of rules and restrictions turns into a way they identify themselves with. If you’re not;  Paleo, Vegan, Sugar free or what ever floats your boat…. Who are you then? 

In some more popular examples like Pete Evans celebrity chef it has become a way to show superiority.  Pushing for every one to be low carb and Paleo is elitist.  It is really ignorant to believe everyone should be eating the same way. Everyone isn’t you, nor should they have to be.

As a generalisation I find that it’s the most vocal about food choice that are the most insecure about food choice and body image or at least in the past had issues in the body image area.

People do have individual health requirements, tastes, cultural food preferences. Who is anyone to dispute and argue the way some one should eating? As I have highlighted in the past there is many ways to eat healthy and fad dieting isn’t one of them.  

This is a growing problem in society today with this huge push for people to BE HEALTHY!! Eat what cave man ate, organic grass fed meat, no grains, no dairy, no fructose so this means fruit. After a while you’re only left with a few items left.

Thankfully most diets allow you to eat veggies, but unfortunately you can live and breathe off only eating green veggies!

The problem is when orthorexia really takes hold, after they have imposed so many self restrictions, people do end up in a semi starved state.  They do lose hair, lose a tone of muscle tone, and can end up with mental health related issues surrounding food.

I actually really do feel sorry for these Celebrities because the rabbit hole gets so deep there is nowhere to go. It’s not as simple as breaking the diet you have indoctrinated the masses with. The result being they keep pushing ill informed science and people keep buying books. 

AND that my fellow readers are why there are thousands of fad diet books produced every year.

Here is one example of “Blonde Vegan Girl” who’s whole life was based around being vegan. After acknowledging she had orthorexia she started eating meat again, and actually got death threats from here tribe of followers.

For the less so famous folk like you and me, trust me when I say you don’t need another diet. What you need is to learn to listen to your own body, learn to accept that sustainable weight loss takes time. Natural eating behaviours where you can eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full takes time to relearn.

I came across this blog post from a girl who was vegetarian, turned vegan, turned raw, turned fruitarian, turned Paleo over at least 10years of her life. My best advice here is stop dieting, unhealthy obsession with being healthy, in fact  leaves you to have an unhealthy mind. Worse still 10years of life-wasted worry about the food you should or should not put in your mouth seems like a huge waste of time for me.

How can you spot a fad diet?

1. If they use “toxic”, “chemical laden” adjectives to describe food
2. If they cut out food groups or single macro nutrients and claims it causes cancer, autism, diabetes and heart disease
3. If the diet guru has no nutrition qualifications and is clearly making money from selling books.

      You can also use my BS barometer for a more in-depth analysis. 

So far with those 3 rules you have cut out Paleo, I quit sugar,  low carb diets, mono diets and I am sure the list will keep growing- unfortunately.

If you think you have problem with orthorexia please visit your doctor, psychologist or dietitian.